A small but hugely talented group of athletes made the journey to Glasgow for the Scottish Indoors this weekend. The club first embarked on trips to the Scottish Indoors all the way back in 2008 and have gone most years since then missing only 3 years and the 2 pandemic years.
It’s a fantastic trip every year and one that the athletes really look forward to. This year saw the club equal its best year ever from 2019 with 2 Scottish titles, a silver and 2 bronze medals coming the way of our athletes.
The seniors were in action Friday evening where our Edinburgh resident athlete Gavin Cooney made his indoor debut in Scotland with a brilliant early season 2:00.58 to take 5th place in the Senior Men’s 800m final, form that should see Gavin well set-up for a string of sub-2 minute 800s later in the season.
Saturday kicked off with Evan Hallinan in the U20 Men’s Triple Jump and both Evan and Lukas Schukat in the U20 Men’s High Jump. Having broken the club’s senior record only last weekend at the Galway Indoors with a massive leap of 13.07m, Evan was in superb form with four 13+ metre jumps, breaking his PB with a 13.13m on his 3rd attempt and again with 13.23m on his 5th attempt for yet another club record and the bronze medal – only 10cm behind the silver medalist to claim Evan’s 4th medal now from the Scottish indoors with 2 silver as an U13 and a gold as an U15 already in the trophy cabinet!
And just 30 minutes after the end of the triple jump, Evan lined up with Lukas Schukat for the U20 Men’s High Jump. With PBs of 1.85m (Lukas) and 1.88m (Evan) from last year’s outdoor championships, both athletes were focused on breaking those marks. Entering the competition at 1.73m with first-time clearances which they repeated at 1.78m and 1.83m, Lukas then had a wobble with a knock at 1.88m which would have been a PB with Evan clearing first-time. Lukas nailed it with a superb effort on his second attempt.
Onto elite territory now with the bar at 1.93m with Lukas up first where he made an absolutely fantastic effort to sail over the bar on his first attempt for yet another PB. Evan was up next and just nicked the bar a little on his first effort but sailed comfortably clear on his second attempt for a fine new PB of 1.93m. 1.98m was next and both athletes made valiant attempts but it proved just a little high on this occasion.
Lukas’s first time clearance of 1.93m was enough to claim the bronze medal on countback with Evan taking 5th place at the same height in a close fought contest.
It was absolutely fantastic jumping as both athletes edge closer to the magical 2m mark and to Jerry Keary’s club indoor record of 1.98m. Jerry’s club records will get some serious challenging in the years ahead from both Evan and Lukas and the up and coming Conor Penney and Darragh Kelly – but they might not have it all their own way as Jerry is hotly rumored to be coming back to defend his records.
Onto Sunday where our long jumpers Siofra Davis and Evan Quinn were in action early in the day in the U20 event with Siofra leaping to a best of 4.36m and Evan claiming a fine new PB of 5.55m and only for struggling a little with his mark and 4 breaks, would have gone very close to the 6m mark. And later in the day Jade Moorhead and Leonore Church along with Siofra took to the track for the U20 Women’s high jump.
It wasn’t to be Leonore or Siofra’s day as both struggled at the opening height of 1.39m. Leonore had cleared it comfortably in the warmup jump but the pressure got to her a little when the competition started even though she was way over the mark in the warmup jump. Siofra had a similar experience as we adjusted the mark backwards to try to compensate for being too close in to the jump and bumping the bar. Their day will come as both are fine jumpers and we just need to do more work on the marks.
Jade then entered the most extraordinary high jump competition ever, commencing at 1.54m with a perfect clearance and followed it up with 2 super first-time clearances over 1.59m and 1.64m. All bar one other athlete had been eliminated at this point and both athletes had a perfect sequence of first-time clearances. Up to 1.69m it went and Jade went ever so close on each of her attempts, in particular her 3rd attempt – clearing the bar but just tipping it off on the way down. Her opponent’s attempts were not as good and with both now tied at 1.64m, for the first time that I can remember for our club, the competition went to a jump-off.
A jump-off is possibly the most mentally challenging thing that can happen in any of the athletic disciplines – sort of like a sudden-death penalty shoot-out except it’s over the high jump bar, with the winner being first person to clear a height that your opponents fails to clear.
The first height in the jump-off was a 4th attempt at 1.69m – again another valiant attempt but a knocked bar again for both athletes.
So down it goes by 2cm to 1.67m. Both athletes knock it.
So down it goes again to 1.65m and as fatigue takes its toll, both athletes clip it again to bring it down.
So down it goes to 1.63m and the Scottish athlete heaps the pressure on Jade by clearing it. Jade’s turn and a perfect clearance.
So up it goes to 1.65m. The Scottish athlete fails. Jade’s turn and clips it, and lands on it which as all high jumpers know is incredibly incredibly sore and she will have a bruise on her lower-back for a couple of days. With tears in her eyes, Jade bravely continues on.
Back down to 1.63. The Scottish athlete ratchets up the pressure by clearing it. Jade’s turn and yet another perfect clearance.
Up it goes to 1.65. Both athletes clip it.
Down it goes to 1.63. Up goes the Scottish athlete and clears it. Up goes Jade and clears it.
Up it goes to 1.65. Down goes the Scottish athlete, clipping it. Up goes Jade but just brushing it off with her heels.
Down it goes to 1.63. Up goes the Scottish athlete but clips it! Up and over goes Jade!! Soaring high over it with a perfect clearance!! Jade takes the title!!!
What a competition! And what a test of character – the toughest high jump competition ever in the club’s history! And a fantastic Scottish National title for Jade – Jade’s first National title and I cannot imagine a more hard-earned and well-deserved title, well done Jade!
The final competitor in action for the club was the electric-charged solar-powered Alan Hallinan who, not content with 3 Connacht titles the day before in Athlone, flew over on the early morning flight to Glasgow (Ryanair’s fastest time ever apparently!) to race to the Scottish title in the U13 60m Hurdles in a blistering time of 10.56 and followed it up later in the day with an outstanding 5:01.67 to take the silver medal in the U13 1500m before speeding over to Celtic Park straight after the 1500m to catch most of the Celtic vs Dundee match!
To say it was a busy weekend for the Hallinan family is the understatement of the year! The club is now in the process of seeking tenders for an extension to the Hallinan home to accommodate a new trophy room as the old one is completely full and inadequate for the future needs of the family!
All in all it was another fantastic weekend for the club in Scotland. A pity the older group had to miss their Connacht’s for the first time ever but there was nothing that could be done about the clash of events.